I must admit I’ve been finding it hard to sit down and read lately. Part of it is perhaps low simmering anxiety over my upcoming thesis defense. As a result, there were no new books that I read in June. But I did think this was a perfect opportunity to do a mid-year review of the books I read so far in 2019, and what that means for my ability to complete the Toronto Public Library reading challenge by the end of the year.
There are two parts to the reading challenge: a list of categories in the basic challenge and another list of categories in an advanced challenge. Below I have reproduced both sets of challenge criteria, and have listed the books that I had read that fit said criteria, with links to posts I’ve written about them. I have also crossed out categories that I’ve already fulfilled.
Basic Reading Challenge
- A book recommended to you by library staff
- A graphic novel
A book from a Canadian award-winning author: Still Life by Louise Penny A book set in Toronto: Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
- A book by an author in a visible minority
- A book by an LGBTQ+ author
A book about mental health: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey A non-prose book: Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy anthology A book in translation: An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helen Thursten
- A book on a topic you know nothing about
A book you’ve always meant to read: Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky
- A book that has been banned or challenged
A book that has been adapted into a movie or show: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
- A book by an author with the same initials as you
Advanced Reading Challenge
- A book by an author with a disability
- A book about being a newcomer, refugee or immigrant
- A book you should have read in school, but didn’t
A book you previously tried to read and gave up on: As the Pig Turns by M. C. Beaton A book set in a country you’d like to visit: The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
- Two books with the same/very similar titles
- A book from our First & Best lists*
- A book by an eh List writer*
- A book from Read Indigenous*
- A book from The List: Great Reads for Youth*
- A book that’s related to the Periodic Table of Elements*
. . .
I will admit that I didn’t choose to read some of the books listed above specifically for this challenge, but looking back on the books I read I realized they fit some of the categories after all. For instance, I had meant to read the first book in Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series ever since I randomly picked up and read the novel Blacklist about 8 years ago. Similarly, the more I read books from Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the more I want to visit Botswana. Finally, while I was familiar with adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Poirot or Miss Marple stories, it wasn’t until today that I realized The Man in the Brown Suit had been adapted as well. (I now know what I want to watch this week.)
All in all, I read 9 books that could fulfil the reading challenge: 7 from the basic challenge and 2 from the advanced challenge. That means I still need to read 7 books to finish the basic challenge (and 10 more to complete the advanced challenge). I hope to be more mentally able to immerse myself in a book after my thesis defense in a couple of weeks.